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Shane P. Hallam
02-21-2010, 05:23 PM
I know we have a few threads about the 40, but I wanted to share with you an article that I wrote that is being posted around (you can see where by asking me via PM or taking a listen to my podcast! See my sig).

I broke down what the 40 time means, how it should be used, and predictions for the top players in this draft and what I think they will run being aware of the conditions.


40 Yard Dash
One of the most debated aspects of the predraft process is the 40 yard dash. At the NFL draft combine starting on February 27th, over 300 prospects will run on the track at Lucas Oil Stadium to show off their straight line speed. The result will be a sharp increase in numerous stocks and a decline in others. Why do two runs in February completely change the perception of three to four years of tape? The utilization of the 40 yard dash has come under much criticism in recent years of how scouts and General Managers utilize a number to choose one player over another who has been more productive throughout his college career. That being said, there are definite ways to analyze 40 times to learn more about prospects.

How does a 40 yard dash help scouts?

The most important aspect of the 40 is that it places all prospects on a level playing field to test straight line speed. No matter if a player went to Hillsdale, Rice, or Florida, this type of test gives scouts a quantifiable number to equal the playing field. Take for example Pro Bowl rookie Johnny Knox who came out of Abilene Christian. It was pretty obvious from watching the tape that Knox was playing at a higher level than his opponents. He was bigger, faster and stronger than the defenders at Tarleton State and Northwest Missouri State. But how did scouts know if that speed would translate at the NFL level? Was he a rare prospect in terms of speed or did he simply have middle of the road speed that looked better on film?

When Johnny Knox ran a 4.34 at the combine last year, it validated the scouts that loved his film. It shows that he was faster than Penn State’s Derrick Williams or Florida’s Louis Murphy. It leveled the playing field, rose Knox’s stock, and allowed the Bears to make a more informed decision. An even bigger example is Tennessee Titan RB Chris Johnson. At the time of the pick, most criticized Titans General Manager Mike Reinfeldt for the pick since he made a major mistake on a similar runner the year before (more on that later). Chris Johnson came out of East Carolina University and put up over 1400 yards and 17 TDs his Senior year. Many didn’t think his body would hold up in the NFL or that his speed was no more than a Reggie Bush or Julius Jones type of runner. But when Johnson came out with a 4.24 and a faster 40 time than highly touted runner Darren McFadden, Johnson vaulted himself into the first round. All he has done is rushed for over 3,200 yards in only two seasons of work.

The 40 time can be a useful tool in identifying these prospects who aren’t from major programs and compare them to those we see play against the “big boys.” Even with some bigger name prospects who look slower on film but run a fast 40 time, coaches know the ceiling of the players speed. If a Strength and Conditioning Coach can help these players hit their max speed in pads, then the sky is the limit. It is only one piece of the puzzle, but as speed becomes more of a factor in the NFL, the 40 yard dash will have a large impact on the draft process.

When can you use the 40 yard dash TOO much?

Many people criticize scouts and GMs for taking these 40 numbers and massively moving a players stock based solely on these two runs at the combine. If a scout has watched four years of tape, held interviews, and seen the player at All-Star games, should scouts use the 40 time to exponentially increase or decrease the stock of a player? Probably not.

In 2007, the Tennessee Titans drafted an unknown player named
Chris Henry out of Arizona in the 2nd round. Henry was a back-up running back for the Wildcats who didn’t even notch 1,000 yards total in his three years of play. Why was he drafted so high then? 40 time. Henry posted a 4.33 at the combine that year, which was faster than Adrian Peterson or Marshawn Lynch. The Titan’s fell in love with the speed and drafted a player with no blocking skills or vision. Two years later, Chris Henry is out of the league and the Titans would make a wiser decision the next year.

It would be remiss to not mention the wide receiver situation last year. Darius Heyward-Bey was a fringe first round pick based on high upside and athleticism. After posting a 4.30 at the combine, Heyward-Bey began to endear himself to the teams, specifically Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders. We all know the story by now, the Raiders at #7 passed on top WR prospect Michael Crabtree for Heyward-Bey and if his rookie year is any indication, the outlook is not bright. It seems that when teams drastically increase a player’s value while ignoring tape, the results could be dire.

How should the 40 time be used?

The 40 time needs to be used as a conservative measure to validate the tape scouts are seeing and answer questions about speed for prospects where questions still remain. It can be used to open eyes about new prospects, but should not be used to overvalue a prospect. Also, when comparing 40 times from the present to years past, remember that the site of the combine has changed. Last year was the first year at the new Lucas Oil Stadium and the track seemed to be a little bit slower than it was in the RCA Dome. Keep this in mind when looking at the 40 times below for my predictions of this year’s times. Hopefully General Managers and scouts will take in all the information and make the most informed decisions for their franchises.

2010 Combine 40 Yard Dash Predictions
*Note: predictions based on game tape, Lucas Oil track speed, and previous year’s results

Quarterback:
Sam Bradford – 4.82
Jarrett Brown – 4.51
Daryll Clark – 4.57
Jimmy Clausen - *will not run the 40*
Armanti Edwards – 4.49
Mike Kafka – 4.61
Dan LeFevour – 4.66
Colt McCoy – 4.75
Tony Pike – 4.92
Jevan Snead – 4.95
Tim Tebow – 4.72


Running Back:
Jahvid Best – 4.40
LeGarrette Blount – 4.58
Anthony Dixon – 4.65
Jonathan Dwyer – 4.56
Toby Gerhart – 4.60
Montario Hardesty – 4.55
Trindon Holiday – 4.34
Stafon Johnson – 4.49
Ryan Matthews – 4.45
Dexter McCluster – 4.42
Joe McKnight – 4.41
C.J. Spiller – 4.37
Ben Tate – 4.51
Keith Toston – 4.53

Wide Receivers:
Danario Alexander – *will not run*
Arrelious Benn – 4.43
Dezmon Briscoe – 4.58
Dez Bryant – 4.39
Riley Cooper – 4.42
Eric Decker *Will not run*
Jacoby Ford – 4.36
Mardy Gilyard – 4.45
Brandon LaFell – 4.52
Taylor Price – 4.40
Andre Roberts – 4.55
Jordan Shipley – 4.47
Golden Tate – 4.53
Demaryius Thomas - *Will not run*
Blair White – 4.54
Damian Williams – 4.50
Jeremy Williams – 4.49
Mike Williams – 4.46

Tight Ends:
Nate Byham – 4.78
Dorin Dickerson – 4.66
Ed Dickson – 4.71
Garrett Graham – 4.68
Jimmy Graham – 4.63
Jermaine Gresham – 4.70
Ron Gronkowski – 4.75
Aaron Hernandez – 4.65
Michael Hoomanawanui – 4.80
Anthony McCoy – 4.73
Dennis Pitta – 4.72
Andrew Quarles – 4.76

Offensive Line:
Ciron Black – 5.51
Charles Brown – 5.12
Bryan Bulaga – 5.16
Bruce Campbell – 5.07
Selvish Capers – 5.25
Anthony Davis – 5.23
Vladimir Ducasse – 5.28
Mike Iupati – 5.31
Mike Johnson – 5.35
Russell Okung – 5.32
Maurkice Pouncey – 5.41
Rodger Saffold – 5.37
Jared Veldheer – 5.02
Ed Wang – 5.48
Trent Williams – 5.35

Defensive Line:
Tyson Alualu – 4.93
Alex Carrington – 4.87
Terrence Cody – 5.48
Jermaine Cunningham – 4.81
Carlos Dunlap – 4.75
Junior Galette – 4.73
Thaddeus Gibson – 4.72
Brandon Graham – 4.90
Everson Griffen – 4.81
Greg Hardy – 4.95
Jerry Hughes – 4.93
Arthur Jones – 4.97
Sergio Kindle – 4.81
Gerald McCoy – 4.94
Koa Misi – 4.78
Derrick Morgan – 4.75
Jared Odrick – 4.91
Jason Pierre-Paul – 4.69
Brian Price – 5.01
Ricky Sapp – 4.69
George Selvie – 4.89
Ndamukong Suh – 4.95
Dan Williams – 5.05
Linsey Witten – 4.90
Corey Wootton – 4.99
Jason Worilds – 4.84

Linebacker:
Pat Angerer – 4.86
Navorro Bowman – 4.75
Donald Butler – 4.77
Rennie Curran – 4.80
Sean Lee – 4.83
Rolando McClain – 4.73
Roddrick Muckelroy – 4.79
Eric Norwood – 4.81
Brandon Spikes – 4.78
Daryl Washington – 4.75
Sean Weatherspoon – 4.78

Secondary:
Nate Allen – 4.54
Javier Arenas – 4.52
Larry Asante – 4.58
Eric Berry – 4.48
Morgan Burnett – 4.56
Chris Chancellor – 4.58
Kam Chancellor – 4.62
Perrish Cox – 4.54
Dominique Franks – 4.49
Brandon Ghee – 4.51
Joe Haden – 4.46
Kareem Jackson – 4.49
Chad Jones – 4.47
Reshad Jones – 4.58
Myron Lewis – 4.50
Trevard Lindley – 4.60
Taylor Mays – 4.45
Kyle McCarthy – 4.55
Devin McCourty – 4.47
Akwasi Owusu-Ansah – 4.50
Patrick Robinson – 4.48
Myron Rolle – 4.58
Amari Spievey – 4.52
Earl Thomas – 4.51
Syd’Quan Thompson – 4.55
Alterraun Verner – 4.57
Donovan Warren – 4.53
Kyle Wilson – 4.44
Major Wright – 4.52

wicket
02-21-2010, 05:33 PM
id have to think golden is a bit quicker than that

ThePudge
02-21-2010, 05:33 PM
Loved the article, was a good read. I found the predictions to be extremely conservative even with the Lucas Oil surface considered. (I'll be more specific about my 40 expectations a little later on)

George Lippard
02-21-2010, 05:44 PM
id have to think golden is a bit quicker than that

I wouldn't be surprised if he ran even slower.

underscore
02-21-2010, 05:46 PM
Andrew Quarless will turn in the fastest TE 40.

Jonny
02-21-2010, 05:48 PM
Devin McCourty said he ran a 4.3 in training, and his brother ran a 4.32 at pro day last year. Assuming those are fast tracks, I would still bet that he runs a 4.4 even or lower. He has been long expected to be a workout warrior.

Addict
02-21-2010, 05:55 PM
This article is silly, 40 times are the most important thing ever in the history of the universe. And I should know, I've been alive since the beginning of the history of the universe!I like big butts and I cannot lie

billsfootball15
02-21-2010, 05:57 PM
great read Shane!

one quick question tho...on a scale of 1-10, (10 being absurdly fast) how fast of a track is Lucas Oil?

ThePudge
02-21-2010, 06:01 PM
great read Shane!

one quick question tho...on a scale of 1-10, (10 being absurdly fast) how fast of a track is Lucas Oil?

On a Scale of 1 to 10, 1 being under water - 10 being on a moving sidewalk at an airport, I'd give Lucas Oil a 5, RCA Dome might have been between 6-7, Ohio States track more like a 9.

Addict
02-21-2010, 06:04 PM
On a Scale of 1 to 10, 1 being under water - 10 being on a moving sidewalk at an airport, I'd give Lucas Oil a 5, RCA Dome might have been between 6-7, Ohio States track more like a 9.

maybe they should put a moving sidewalk in Lucas Oil, that would make for some spectacular 40 yard dashes.

ThePudge
02-21-2010, 06:13 PM
maybe they should put a moving sidewalk in Lucas Oil, that would make for some spectacular 40 yard dashes.

I wonder what they'd do to start though... maybe put a yellow start line about 5 yards down from the beginning, let the player get on and situated, down in his stance, and start at the line. Or do you have him start right before with his first step coming down on the moving sidewalk?

Addict
02-21-2010, 06:18 PM
I wonder what they'd do to start though... maybe put a yellow start line about 5 yards down from the beginning, let the player get on and situated, down in his stance, and start at the line. Or do you have him start right before with his first step coming down on the moving sidewalk?

the latter... they'll hit the ground running, so to speak.

superman
02-21-2010, 06:27 PM
wow, a thread with realistic 40 predictions. +rep.

Shane P. Hallam
02-21-2010, 06:30 PM
great read Shane!

one quick question tho...on a scale of 1-10, (10 being absurdly fast) how fast of a track is Lucas Oil?

Depends what we are comparing it to. I'd say about a 4 based on what I saw last year. Maybe I'm wrong and the players last year were just slow, but I still think people are overestimating players 40 times as a whole, thus my conservative projections. I'm sure there are a few players I'll be way off on (maybe Spikes runs slower, etc,) but for the most part, I'm betting I'm in the wheelhouse.

I already have a bet with someone that Brandon Graham won't run in the 4.6s.

brat316
02-21-2010, 06:35 PM
5 is good now we'll know when they actually play on sunday why they are slow or not.

FrankGore
02-21-2010, 06:57 PM
Very curious to see what McClain will run. 4.5s could lock him into the top 10, 4.7s leaves some question marks IMO, and anything slower would be a disaster. But I've heard he clocks in the 4.5-4.6 range, so we'll see.

EvilNixon
02-21-2010, 07:02 PM
I thought DHB was a mid first round pick. :(

Shane P. Hallam
02-21-2010, 07:21 PM
I thought DHB was a mid first round pick. :(

I think #7 is an early first, lol.

ElectricEye
02-21-2010, 08:13 PM
Good read, and I agree with most of it...but those are pretty conservative 40 times, particularly the defensive ends. Think a lot of those guys would have to have a really bad day to run those times.

Shane P. Hallam
02-23-2010, 04:23 AM
Good read, and I agree with most of it...but those are pretty conservative 40 times, particularly the defensive ends. Think a lot of those guys would have to have a really bad day to run those times.

We'll see what happens this week, may be a tad low, but you never know how the day will go for the guys.

SKim172
02-23-2010, 04:39 AM
I'd agree with most of your forty times. I'd expect some guys to run faster, but they could easily go even slower. It's a tenth of second either way. There's way too many uncontrolled variables here that could slow a guy down or speed him up.

Think about this: a human eye blinks at about 300 to 400 milliseconds. That's 3 to 4 tenths of a second. That's the difference between 4.3 and 4.7.

Al Davis is at the age when he appreciates every blink he can get.

ThePudge
02-23-2010, 11:41 AM
We'll see what happens this week, may be a tad low, but you never know how the day will go for the guys.

On further review, your RB-WR and QB times are right about where I have them as a whole but your DL, LB, and S/CB section are the ones I find particularly careful/conservative. I'd say your DE/CB/S/LB times are pretty conservative compared to what I expect and your DT times are a bit generous with 4 under '5.0'. I'll be finishing up all my Combine predictions (Ht, Wt, 40, Bench, Stock) either tomorrow or Thursday and we'll be able to compare.

Excited to Brandon Graham in particular who could realistically run anywhere between 4.7 and 4.9. Also very interested to see where his weight is (to determine his future position) - it was 263 at the Senior Bowl but I think it could be as low as 259 (which would point to LB) and as high as 268 (DE).

I think Daryl Washington has a shot to be under 4.65 personally. I think Everson Griffen will be right around 4.7 (give or take a couple hundredths of a second).

villagewarrior
02-23-2010, 11:51 AM
I would say the 40 is only important for the skill position players, less important for TEs and LBs and not important at all for linemen. They should test bench press, power clean, standing high jump, shuttle, and 3 cone test. Those are better indicators of football skills.

superman
02-23-2010, 02:47 PM
oh man can you imagine if they did cleans at the combine? guys would be killing themselves maxing out. it's not really something you can spot.

fenikz
02-23-2010, 03:02 PM
Henry started his JR year had Mike Bell infront of him before that

zinna
02-23-2010, 05:01 PM
There is no way Jarrett Brown runs at 4.51, I have seen every game WVU have played the last 4 years and Im willing to bet my left hand that Brown runs a slower 40 than Pat White and I think White ran 4.55 at last years combine. Im guessing 4.65 for Brown but as a WVU fan Im rooting for him so faster is fine by me =)

GoHuskers
02-23-2010, 06:04 PM
40 times practical football use is pretty much limited to special teams(which means it IS somewhat valid for all non-lineman) Otherwise the only tests I take into account at all are vertical, cone, and shuttle. Bench has some use for grading lineman but still not near as important as vertical. Clean would be nice but there is no real way to accomplish that. Too risky.